Independence Day by Katie Muriel
Availability: Included in the upcoming 404 Ink book Nasty Women.
Following the election of Donald Trump, Katie Muriel looks at the prejudice she faces as a mixed Puerto Rican/white woman, even from her family.
Why I'm Recommending: I think that it's incredibly important to read the words of as many people affected by the current political landscape as possible. In this essay, Katie's writing is incredibly powerful as she talks about the slurs used against her, and the prejudice she has come up against and how Trump's election has made that worse. However she's using her voice to spread the word about this injustice - this is her first published piece of writing; I hope we get to see a lot more from her.
Into The Mountain by Jamila Gavin
Availability: part of the Winter Magic collection curated by Abi Elphinstone. (Simon & Schuster)
Story: When the Pied Piper stole the children from a town, only two were left - a lame boy, and a girl suffering from the plague, neither of whom could keep up with the rest. With the rest of the town viewing them with suspicion, what can they do?
Why I'm recommending: Gorgeously written and brilliantly plotted retelling which kept me guessing right the way through. I also really loved both of the main characters here. I haven't read anything else by Jamila Gavin - although I've recently bought her Coram Boy, and Alexander The Great; I am definitely looking forward to both of them!
Over to Lisa!
I’m not much of a short story reader. There’s no sinister reason for this, I’m just in the habit of mostly reading novels. Indeed, when I do make the effort to read something shorter, I enjoy it immensely. There’s something hugely satisfying and cocooning about reading a story from beginning to end without stopping.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of reading Phil Earle’s excellent YA novella Mind The Gap. It’s the latest release from Barrington Stoke, a publisher that specialises in creating accessible and super readable stories for young people who usually struggle to engage with books. Their latest YA offerings not only look gorgeous (prime example: the stunning Unboxed by Non Pratt), they also pack an astonishing amount of heart, humour and story into each relatively short word count.
Story: Mikey is struggling to cope with the death of his dad so his best friend goes on a mission to keep Mikey’s memories alive.
Why I’m recommending: It’s sweet, funny, moving and occasionally shocking, and the main characters are loveably scrappy. There’s also a rawness and simplicity that makes it feel not only incredibly vivid, but authentic and timeless too.